Thursday, December 11, 2008

An Irregular Comics Review - 11/12/08

Amazing Spider-Man 579
writer: Mark Waid
artist: Marcos Martin

Marcos Martin is fast becoming the finest Spider-artist of this generation, and coupled with Waid at his best - dramatic, yet light-hearted and with fantastic characterisation - this makes for equally as good a read as last issue's effort. The new supporting cast member's reappearance forces changes in the status quo for others, as this book finds its strongest voice since the 80's. Speaking of the 80's...

Amazing Spider-Man 580
writer: Roger Stern
artist: Lee Weeks

See? You can go home again. Roger Stern returns to his spiritual home (he left at issue 250) for some old school goodness. Freely referencing his 80's Marvel continuity (which is more than welcome) with the return of the Blank, Stern's voice for Peter Parker is every bit as enjoyable, traditional and accessible as it ever was. Weeks too does one of the best jobs of his career, cementing what appears to be a continuing collaboration on the book next year with Stern. It couldn't be more welcome.

Captain Britain and MI:13 5
writer: Paul Cornell
penciller: Pat Oliffe

I never thought I'd like Pat Oliffe's art, but it gets the tone of the book in one. The arrival of guest-star Blade is overshadowed by a wonderful character piece between Dane Whitman and Faiza Hussain, a female Muslim superhero on MI:13, making this a brilliant jumping on point for a book with massive potential. Cornell has a fantastic ear for dialogue, and is a hugely welcome addition to the Marvel stable.

Captain Britain and MI:13 6
writer: Paul Cornell
penciller: Leonard Kirk

Cornell feels like he's channelling Roger Stern's Dr Strange run here, bringing in villains from the Dark Dimension for some challenging fun for the new team. The sub-plot between Blade and vampiric Spitfire would be wonderful to see on television (and it's no surprising it should feel like that, considering Cornell's TV background), and although I don't enjoy Kirk's artwork as much as Oliffe's, it captures the characters well (just not the action).

Captain Britain and MI:13 7
writer: Paul Cornell
penciller: Leonard Kirk

Slightly odd pacing (the story as a whole feels like it belongs in an annual or something), but the magical threat by Plokta gives the still-new characters a real workout. If you could have everything you ever wanted, would you take it - particularly if you were someone like Pete Wisdom? Brian Braddock's impatience is nicely in character, and it looks as though everything falls completely apart at the end - Cornell does do cliffhangers well! Kirk's art is still effective, if let down by multiple inkers.

Captain Britain and MI:13 8
writer: Paul Cornell
penciller: Leonard Kirk

Still not sure about the art - musical inkers aren't helpful at the best of times - but the writing by Cornell is still strong. The ultimate betrayal at the end is quite surprising, as is the conundrum faced by Brian Braddock, and the TV-esque pacing is quite delightful. You don't need to know Excalibur/Captain Britain continuity to enjoy this title, which in this era makes this book a great read, just not yet the greatest. I'd have preferred the story to be finished by now, traditional as Cornell's overall approach is.

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